County crews stress budget and equipment

March 16, 1993

Road crews worked through the weekend to clear the 14 inches of snowfall in Howard County. Plowed roads were salted and cindered yesterday, and crews turned their attention to clearing school parking lots and other facilities.

The work was hampered over the weekend by parked vehicles, drifting snow and ice in the west and central portions of Howard County, and by hard-packed snow in the east, said Alan Ferragamo, chief of highways.

In eastern Howard County, sleet and rain caused problems when they froze and were buried beneath more snow.

"Plows became stranded and we had to have other pieces of equipment come and rescue them," Mr. Ferragamo said.

Maintenance problems also prevented snowplow crews from a speedy cleanup. Of a total 50 snowplows, about 10 broke down during the storm. "We were working with 20 percent less equipment," Mr. Ferragamo said.

In western Howard County, wind gusts of up to 50 mph blew snow across freshly cleared streets, forcing crews to replow them.

Those complications delayed crews from clearing side streets until early Sunday afternoon, Mr. Ferragamo said.

He estimated the cost of the weekend snow removal effort between $100,000 to $200,000.

Throughout the weekend, public works officials received at least 2,000 calls concerning unplowed streets, Mr. Ferragamo said. He said the department received about 100 calls an hour yesterday. About 110 workers labored for a total of 45 hours with four to five hours rest, Mr. Ferragamo said.

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